Old Ramon Summary
In his books and stories, Schaefer celebrates the solid virtues of the Old West. He has said that in all his storytelling he establishes a strong major character whom he pits against specific human problems. In Old Ramon, the title character, an aging but infinitely wise herder of a wealthy rancher's sheep, must meet a number of challenges. In confronting them, Ramon demonstrates skills and attitudes that Schaefer values highly.
Throughout the book, Schaefer intends for his reader to identify with the heroic aspects of Ramon's character. The shepherd's skills and experience allow him and his flock to survive numerous calamities, and he possesses a profound and sympathetic wonder for the natural world around him. His lifelong profession has made him completely self-reliant. The young boy who accompanies Ramon gradually comes to admire and finally to adopt these moral and physical strengths. Schaefer intends that his young readers will also learn to respect the shepherd's values, which, in Ramon's words, are "not in the books" and which, for Schaefer, are in danger of being lost in modern technological society.
Old Ramon won an Ohioana Book Award (1961) and was selected as a Notable Book by the American Library Association. In 1975, Schaefer received the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Western Literature Association.